Growing and Aging Are The Same Thing

growing and aging

By Chip Conley

We’re comfortable saying to a 15-year-old, “My, how you’ve grown!” but we’d never say that to a 65-year-old. And, of course, we will never say to that 15-year-old, “Wow, you’ve aged since I last saw you.”

When does growing stop and aging begin? Is it 25, 45, 65? That’s a loaded question because it suggests you can’t grow and age simultaneously.

Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly forty years, I know the majesty of a towering redwood, the tallest tree on the planet. They can span more than 400 feet, which is taller than a thirty-seven-story skyscraper.

A typical redwood lives for 500 to 700 years, although some coastal redwoods reach the age of 2,000 years, according to the National Parks Service. Not only that, but coastal redwoods have been on the planet far longer than humans. They’ve been around for over 240 million years, which means they inhabited the earth at the same time as the dinosaurs.

We have wrinkles. Trees have rings. These growth rings not only tell us its age, they offer clues about the climate conditions the tree lived through. Our wrinkles are the same. The only difference is that we don’t grow taller as we acquire more wrinkles, whereas trees continue to both age and grow.

Excerpt used with permission from Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better with Age by Chip Conley. Little, Brown Spark

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